At sunrise in the North Atlantic, the last total solar eclipse of the second millenium begins south of Nova Scotia at 09:30:57 Universal Time (UT). UT is the term astronomers use for our earthly GMT.

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Travel Notes: Travel Articles: Total Solar Eclipse, 1999 -- Travel Writers


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Eclipse 99:
On Wednesday, August 11th 1999, a total eclipse of the Sun was visible from within a narrow corridor which traversed the Eastern Hemisphere.

About Eclipses
More about solar and lunar eclipses.

Eclipse Chasing
Some people make a habit of travelling around the world to see the moon's shadow.

Past Eclipses
A look back at the effect of total solar eclipses on people and places in the past.

Future Eclipses
After reading through the eclipse pages @ Travel Notes, you may want to know where to plan your next eclipse experience.

Eclipse Library
Further reading on the subject of total solar eclipses.

The Path

At sunrise in the North Atlantic, the last total solar eclipse of the second millenium began south of Nova Scotia at 09:30:57 Universal Time (UT). UT is the term astronomers use for our earthly GMT.

The path of totality was only 49 kilometers wide along the sunrise terminator, with a maximum duration of 47 seconds.  Two Concordes were ready to chase the eclipse towards Britain.

It took forty minutes for the moon's shadow to move across the North Atlantic; reaching the Isles of Scilly, off the southwestern coast of England, at 10:10 UT -- 11:10 British Summer Time. The width of totality was now 103 kilometers and lasted for a full 2 minutes.

United Kingdom:
At eleven minutes past eleven on the eleventh of August, Cornwall went into an eerie mid-day darkness. The South West was the best place to view the event in the UK, and the peninsular was crowded. Traffic in the region can be slow at the best of times in August.

Extra trains from London helped take the strain off the roads, as many people headed the advice and left their cars behind.

At the 11th minute of the 11th hour of the 11th day of August 1999 the shadow of the Moon swept across the Isles of Scilly.

The rest of the UK experienced a partial eclipse of the sun, with dusk settling over most of the country less than an hour before noon.

The next solar eclipse in the UK will not be until 2090 -- only those around in 1927 saw the last one.

Past Eclipses

The Moon last cast its daytime shadow upon central Europe in 1961.

The 1999 Normandy landing  occurred around 10:16 UT -- 12:16 Central European Time.

The center line arrived in northern France around 10:20 UT.  Like London, Paris only saw a partial eclipse as the southern limit of the total shadow passed to the north of the capital.

The Dom Perrignon vineyards, near Reims, were also cast into darkness, as were Metz and the Alsace.

A total solar eclipse was only visible in the extreme south-east of Belgium.

For the first time since June 16th, 1406, a total solar eclipse was again visible over the territory of Luxembourg. The next one will only take place here in the evening hours of June 14th, 2151.

Totality occur in the south of the country, including the capital Luxembourg-Ville and the Moselle -- south of Grevenmacher.

The eclipse will began at 11:09 and ended at 13:51 local time, with totality occurring between 12:28 and 12:30.

The people of Dudelange could witness their sun being totally darkened by the moon for a duration of 1 minute and 55 seconds.

At 10:33 UT, the entire umbra crossed into southern Germany and the Rhine Valley.

This was the first solar eclipse to be seen in the northern part of Germany for 136 years, and 152 years in Stuttgart -- shame about the weather.

Schwabenland was cast into darkness for 2 minutes 17 seconds.

Although Munich is 20 kilometers south of the centre line, Bavarians still had more than two minutes of totality; if they were sitting in a cloudless beer-garden.

The first total solar eclipse to hit the country since 1842, and next one will be in 2081.

The major cities of Salzburg, Linz and Graz, as well as the eastern Alps, were located within the zone of totality. Only a deep partial eclipse was visible from the capital, Vienna. The duration of totality on the central line across Austria was around 2 minutes 21 seconds.

The northeastern corner of Slovenia lay within the southern limits of the total eclipse.

Lake Balaton was wholly within the path of totality, where the central duration lasted for 2 minutes 22 seconds.

This is also where Travel Notes brought you our August 11th report.

As with Vienna, Budapest was also about 40 kilometers north of the path but still witnessed a partial eclipse.

Northern Yugoslavia was in the southern third of totality.

The instant of greatest eclipse occurred at 11:03:04 UT when the axis of the Moon's shadow passed closest to the centre of Earth. The shadow's epicenter at this moment was located in south-central Romania, close to Rīmnicu-Vīlcea.

The length of totality reached its maximum duration of 2 minutes 23 seconds here, with the path's width  stretching to 112 kilometers.

Bucharest was Europe's only capital to be on the 1999 centre line.

In Bucharest, the second contact was at 11:05 U.T and totality lasted for 2 minutes 22seconds.

Romania's last eclipse was in February 1961 and the next one will be in 2236.

The Black Sea resort of Varna was just south of totality, although the border with Romania was cast in total shadow.

The Black Sea was a popular spot for people wishing to experience totality at sea.

Landfall occurred along the Black Sea coast of northern Turkey at 11:21 UT.

The shadow of the moon was first seen from the Black Sea coast around 14:20 local time. It then passed through central Anatolia and left Turkey from the south-east at 14:42 local time.

11:45 UT -- The centre line duration began a gradual but steady decrease as it briefly entered northwestern Syria, near Cizre, and crossed into Iraq. Maximum totality now experienced was about 2 minutes 5 seconds.

Although meteorologists predicted that weather conditions would probably be at their best in the deserts of Iran, the difficulty was to get there.

The Shahid Beheshti University of Medical Science, in Isphahan -- seven hours from Tehran, is one of the most authoritative in Iran. Totality times were now under two minutes.

Northeast of the Strait of Hormuz, the width of the moon's shadow was shrinking and totality dipped to around 11/2 minutes.

The umbra entered Pakistan at 12:22 UT, and moved on to black out part of the Arabian Sea and the port of Karachi for 1 minute 13 seconds.

The Sun is dipping now and the path width has shrunk to 85 kilometers.

At 12:28 UT India became the last nation to get a total solar eclipse this millennium.

The speed of the shadow increased rapidly and the centre line duration was now down to one minute.

The eclipse left India north of Vishakhapatnam at 12:36 UT and finished its journey across the earth at the Bay of Bengal.

During a total of 3 hours 7 minutes the Moon's shadow travelled along a path 14,000 kilometers long, covering 0.2% of Earth's surface area.

Travel Notes' 1999 Eclipse Report:
Total solar eclipse from Lake Balaton on August 11th, 1999.

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